Security

How IBM's Quad9 service protects users from accessing malicious websites

The company says the new DNS service will block visits to harmful sites while protecting users' privacy.

IBM recently partnered with Packet Clearing House (PCH) and the Global Cyber Alliance (GCA) to create Quad9, a DNS service that protects a user's privacy.

TechRepublic's Dan Patterson met with IBM X-Force Red's Paul Griswold to discuss how the service works and why managing your company's DNS is important for cybersecurity.

"Essentially what we're doing is bringing a new security DNS service, available to anyone on the internet, that leverages threat intelligence from IBM and others to protect people from going to malicious sites," Griswold said.

The technology works by sending a user's request for a website to the Quad9 DNS server, which will then make sure the site is safe. If it is, then the user will be able to access the site. But if it's a malicious site, the server will block it, and their computer will never touch the malware or ransomware that's trying to infect it.

SEE: Guidelines for building security policies (Tech Pro Research)

Everyone uses a DNS server whether they know it or not, Griswold said. What makes Quad9 different from other ISPs trying to protect users is the service's security, which checks every DNS request. Another aspect is its privacy, he explained, because Quad9 does not track the people who use it, or save any of their personal information. Lastly what sets it apart is its speed.

The Quad9 uses a blacklist to block people from visiting sites. The list is generated by looking at a site name itself and determining whether its a valid site, or not. Another way the blacklist gets generated is through evaluation of how a site is built and what information it asks for.

This service is mainly suited for SMBs and consumers, and can be set up with a simple configuration change, Griswold said. Those interested in using this service can follow the instructions here.

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Image: iStock/weerapatkiatdumrong

About Leah Brown

Leah Brown is the Associate Social Media Editor for TechRepublic. She manages and develops social strategies for TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research.

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